History & Culture / Home & Family

Why Embrace Genealogy?

genealogy

Genealogy is the study and tracing of lines of descent or development. Research related to family ancestries and the tracing of lineages not only establishes a historical framework but personally links us to the past. As one sorts through records, deeds, photos, private journals, storytelling accounts, and more, a deep emotional connection to one’s ancestors may be established. Tracing the past can be intriguing, satisfying, exciting, interesting, and may even be surprising or shocking. Often, people describe genealogy as fitting together pieces of a puzzle to enjoy the big picture.

One may generally start working from the present by assembling the familial information they already possess, such as names, relationships, dates of birth, marriage, death, and so forth. It is helpful to gather as much data as possible from other family members, too. The info can be assembled and organized into a family tree, a diagram showing the relationship between people in several generations of a family. Most genealogists set research goals to focus on locating specific pieces of missing information. Examples may include searching for missing birth, immigration, or military records. To maximize the results of searches, it’s important to use as many resources as possible. This includes accessing public records, visiting libraries, searching court or church records, and more. A genealogist will not only maintain records of information gathered but will also note sources for future reference.

Obtaining information may sometimes come at a cost, from paying for records to gaining assistance. Services like ancestory.com can help people of all levels of expertise understand their genealogy, as it offers the world’s largest collection of online family histories. AncestryDNA goes even further by offering people precise geographic details of their lineage with clear-cut historical insight. Among the company’s goals is to connect people to the places where their stories originated. Sometimes, the saliva swab test may be like opening a can of worms, unlocking untold secrets, and possibly rendering one’s privacy and security vulnerable. Through ancestry and DNA testing, one may find and connect with living relatives or perhaps be contacted by someone who is related. If one wishes to be discrete or has concerns that their genetic information might be at risk, the decision for DNA testing should not be taken lightly.

Genealogy is richly steeped in history, culture, and tradition. Whether for pleasure or as a mission to uncover facts for a specific purpose, gaining knowledge of our family history connects the present with the past. We may even answer burning questions: Did my uncle really run away and join the circus? Who are my birth parents? Do I look like my grandmother or grandfather? How did this relative die? What is our inheritance? Who owned this land? Am I related to this famous person? Where is my family’s origin? Discovering roots not only satisfies curiosity, but it also strengthens one’s sense of identity. Seeing life through the eyes of our ancestors may journey us through the woes of war or the joys of peacetime, enriching our knowledge of the past and giving us a newfound appreciation of their lifetime contributions.  

 


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Rob Fitzgerald
1 year ago

There are many pitfalls currently using a DNA testing service, which I don’t see addressed here. I greatly encourage anyone considering using such a service to do research on the risks and benefits before proceeding.

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